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Title: Matronae e repudium nell’ultimo secolo di Roma repubblicana
Authors: Mastrorosa, Gilda
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2016
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Gilda Mastrorosa "Matronae e repudium nell’ultimo secolo di Roma repubblicana" in: Francesca Cenerini e Francesca Rohr Vio (a cura di), "Matronae in domo et in re publica agentes - spazi e occasioni dell'azione femminile nel mondo romano tra tarda repubblica e primo impero", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016, pp. 65-87
Series/Report no.: Polymnia. Collana di Scienze dell'Antichità. Studi di Storia romana
The meaning that matrimonial dynamics have acquired in the development of the
late republican political conflicts and in parallel the role played by the matronae in those
contexts have been repeatedly explained, both in a prosopographic key and from the
gender studies perspective. However, more or less recent historiography does not seem
to have given particular importance to the peculiarity of the circumstances and modalities
that in the last century of the Roman Republic accompanied the planning of
marriages and their dissolution. A careful analysis of the cases of repudium involving
key figures such as Silla, Pompey, Caesar, Cato of Utica, Cicero, Antony and Octavian
reveals that the reasons underlying their decisions to break their marriage bonds were
not always consistent with earlier practice. This was witnessed in paradigmatic terms
by memorialist and antiquarian sources (Valerius Maximus and Gellius), according to
whom the dissolution of a marriage would be allowed in the case of female sterilitas
or would not be considered inappropriate in the case of licentious behaviour of the
women. Nonetheless, certain episodes involving the above mentioned major figures of
the late Roman Republic denote a use dictated by a concern for protecting their public
image and their need to regain the faculty of contracting new marriages that would
be politically or financially more advantageous. Overall, the male tendency to make an
instrumental use of repudium, in the context of marriages contracted from time to time
according to contingent convenience, in addition to revealing a marked change from
the older tradition, can be considered a direct reflection of the unilateral nature of the
dissolution of marriage in Roman practice. It is also an indication of the reduced scope
for action of the matronae, occasionally forced away from their domestic domicile by
their spouse, despite their important role in the context of marriages arranged in view of
the utility of marriage in the public sphere.
Type: Article
ISBN: 978-88-8303-753-5
eISBN: 978-88-8303-754-2
Appears in Collections:05. Matronae in domo et in re publica agentes

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